Don t Mess with my Tacos by HC120727061543


									Don’t mess with my Tacos
        A case study into
  Genetically Modified (GM) food

 Thomas D Battell FCII, FCILA, MBEng, FIFAA, MAE
 Director, Adjusting Solutions
What is a Taco?
Main ingredient - MAIZE
European Corn Borer
  Ostrinia nubilalis
Corn Borer Damage
          The Solution
    Corn with a “deadly” gene
Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt)
Bt corn is a variant of maize, genetically
altered to express the bacterial Bt toxin,
which is poisonous to insect pests. In the
case of corn, the pest is the European
Corn Borer.
               StarLink Corn
• Aventis Cropscience designed and marketed

• StarLink has a pesticidal protein (the Cry9C gene)
  that makes the corn more resistant to certain types
  of insects.

Basically the worms ate the gene and their
  stomachs exploded!
Licence granted to commercialise the seed:
  – Only for animal feed usage initially (EPA)
  – All liabilities to be borne by Licensee
  – Ongoing research into possible allergies
  – Precautions taken at farms to include a “no
    grow zone” barrier from other crops to stop
    cross pollination
           A Higher Authority
“...thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed...”
                                King James Version

Leviticus 19. v 19.
             TACO Surprise
• NGO representatives were
  randomly taking product from
  supermarket shelves for testing
• StarLink corn gene Cry9c was
  found in Taco Bell tacos
  (human consumption) by a
  Greenpeace member
• Government bodies,
  businesses and the general
  public became alarmed at food
• US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –
  Mission to safeguard the natural environment
• US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) –
  protecting the public health in respect of food
• US Department of Agriculture (USDA) –
  everything the others don’t do - and then some!
• The White House – whatever you thought
  others could do – think again!!!
             Public Relations
• Public Relations disaster
  for Aventis (now Bayer) and
  the biotechnology industry as
  a whole.
• Surge of public testing for
  StarLink DNA on all food and
  drink products

     StarLink seed sales discontinued and all
          contaminated product recalled
• Nil tolerance for StarLink DNA in human food
• Recall all products with traces of DNA in market
• Remove all co-mingled corn from supply chain
  (in silos, storage and transport)
• Address issue of stray StarLink seed
  propagating with other seed on-farm
• Fines that could make you weep
• Imprisonment for the CEO in default!!
         Extensive Interests
1. Government and Regulators
2. Bio-tech companies
3. Seedsmen/Developers
4. Growers/Farmers
5. Trade Associations
6. Food Manufactures/Processors
7. Wholesalers, Restaurants
8. Retailers, Supermarkets
9. Exporters
10.The Public
1. Not physically possible to remove the StarLink
   DNA without destroying the product

2. 1 corn seed (kernel) in 1 million is still traceable
   by DNA (1ppm)

3. Re-contamination – a real risk in every stage
   – cross fertilisation, co-mingling, transportation,
   milling, food processing
• Low limits - bought on affordability rather than
• Failure to understand exposure
• No coverage for regulatory fines or corn itself
• Damage to Property or just financial loss?
• Absence of BI cover –leading to potential
  insolvency, redundancies and sale
• D&O coverage for CEO?
• Reduction in Bio-Tech coverage in market
1. Public awareness including absence of injury risk
   (PR risk- third largest news story in year)
2. Co-operation with government, regulators and
   trade associations
3. Agreed practical plan for recall to avoid future
4. Monetary compensation levels agreed at start
5. Process for claiming tied into return of corn
6. “Comingled corn” sold back into cattle feed market
   at discount whilst maintaining prices for food corn
   to create goodwill (mitigation)
7. Food corn market price and confidence restored
8. Insurers – Regular Market meetings and
• Claim settled (insured aspect less than 50%)
• High percentage recall result
• Testing regime agreed at manufacture stage
• Zero tolerance level renegotiated to five year
  removal plan (with technical evidence)
• Corn market and export position restored
• Business sold to Bayer (more resource and
• CEO kept out of prison!!
           Lessons for Today
• New Technology = New (unknown) Risks
• Governmental/Regulatory breach is often more
  costly than negligence/contractual loss
• GM or other new technology needs insurance
  backing (and risk assessment) to develop
• Policies need to consider the political issues as
  well as commercial and legal
• Territory risks varies e.g. GM accepted in US but
  not in Europe or Japan
• Huge exposures and changing law
     BP and Deepwater Horizon
•   High profile – PR issues
•   NGO activity
•   White House involvement
•   1000’s of third parties
•   Technical issues with remedy and clean up
•   Share price fall
•   CEO – personal liabilities, standing and
       Losses for Tomorrow
• Is “nanotechnology” the next major
  loss waiting to happen?
• new/untried, potential contaminant
• tiny “irrecoverable” particles
• unknown health risks
• lean development budgets
• international exposure
• potential group litigation
• new law
Thomas D Battell FCII, FCILA, MBEng, FIFAA,
Adjusting Solutions
One Alie St
E1 8DE

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